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New book from Michael Behe on how today’s DNA findings “devolve” Darwin

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Michael Behe’s new book at Amazon: Darwin Devolves: The New Science About DNA that Challenges Evolution is due February 26, 2019. No cover image as yet.

From HarperOne:

The scientist who has been dubbed the “Father of Intelligent Design” and author of the groundbreaking book Darwin’s Black Box contends that recent scientific discoveries further disprove Darwinism and strengthen the case for an intelligent creator.

In his controversial bestseller Darwin’s Black Box, biochemist Michael Behe challenged Darwin’s theory of evolution, arguing that science itself has proven that intelligent design is a better explanation for the origin of life. In Darwin Devolves, Behe advances his argument, presenting new research that offers a startling reconsideration of how Darwin’s mechanism works, weakening the theory’s validity even more.

A system of natural selection acting on random mutation, evolution can help make something look and act differently. But evolution never creates something organically. Behe contends that Darwinism actually works by a process of devolution—damaging cells in DNA in order to create something new at the lowest biological levels. This is important, he makes clear, because it shows the Darwinian process cannot explain the creation of life itself. “A process that so easily tears down sophisticated machinery is not one which will build complex, functional systems,” he writes.

In addition to disputing the methodology of Darwinism and how it conflicts with the concept of creation, Behe reveals that what makes Intelligent Design unique—and right—is that it acknowledges causation. Evolution proposes that organisms living today are descended with modification from organisms that lived in the distant past. But Intelligent Design goes a step further asking, what caused such astounding changes to take place? What is the reason or mechanism for evolution? For Behe, this is what makes Intelligent Design so important. More.

Devolution… at last, something Darwinism really explains!

How odd that genome mapper and theistic evolutionist Francis Collins should have helped kill Darwinism before he got most Christians to buy into it.

See also: Devolution: Getting back to the simple life.

68 Replies to “New book from Michael Behe on how today’s DNA findings “devolve” Darwin

  1. 1
    Nonlin.org says:

    Behe is very wrong:

    A system of natural selection acting on random mutation, evolution can help make something look and act differently.

    There is in fact no “natural selection” mechanism at all.
    http://nonlin.org/natural-selection/

    2. No. Natural Selection fails since survival is not directly tied to phenotype and “survival of the best adapted” is tautological. In a small farm, only organisms closely related to their wild cousins survive, but agribusinesses select for chickens with oversize breasts and research labs select for populations with specific genetic mutations requiring tight environments to survive. As shown, all these different organisms may or may not survive regardless of their phenotype. The only measure of “selection” is survival – we only know if and organism was selected if it survives and reproduces. “Best adapted” is also unknowable separate from survival.
    3. Survivability is a recurrent function of genotype, an infinite continuum of environments, and other unknown factors since phenotype is the unstable infinite set (hence unknowable and theoretical) of observable characteristics determined by genotype and the environment while genotype is a recurrent function of previous genotypes, environments, and other factors. While survivability can be measured as can be the individual genotype, measuring a population’s genotype is daunting at best, and the impact of the ever changing environment is simply impossible to evaluate. We do see genetic mutations (unknowable if random) and we do know that, given a similar environment, extreme genotypes reduce survivability, yet we also know that a large variety of genotypes survive just fine in any population.
    4. Fitness is never defined independently of survival – this renders the fitness concept redundant especially since survivability can be measured while fitness cannot. Evolutionary Fitness is defined as the quantitative representation of natural and sexual selection (reproductive success) of a genotype or phenotype in a given environment. “Survival of the fittest” is interpreted as: “Survival of the form (phenotypic or genotypic) that will leave the most copies of itself in successive generations.” Not only is survivability the only measure, but survivability also changes with the environment.
    5. Plant and animal breeding is not the “artificial selection” described by Darwin and has nothing to do with any natural process. Breeding requires a desired outcome, selection (just a minor step!) and isolation of successive generations of promising individuals, active mating or artificial insemination, optimization of growth conditions for the selected individuals, and/or other genetic technologies. Without most of these active steps nothing happens. Chihuahua and Poodle have no superior survivability to common dog or wolf, but happened anyway because humans worked hard to make them possible. But no one ensures all these active steps in nature. To take only one example, how could humans have “evolved” distinctly from chimps when no one separated each and every new generation based on a teleological model? Why did the proto-human not mate back with his/her regular chimp cousins to put an end to the split? Who and how could have separately optimized conditions for both chimp and human so both lineages survived in what looks like very much similar environments? ‘Selection’ of both “artificial” and “natural” type is thus the wrong word and should be phased out.

  2. 2
    Nonlin.org says:

    Why do ID proponents accept without questioning Darwin’s baseless concept of “natural selection”?!?

    Summary:
    1. Natural Selection concept fails since phenotype does not determine survival which is also tautological with “best adapted”
    2. “Blind, mindless, purposeless, natural, and process” qualifiers fail
    3. Phenotype is an unstable infinite set (hence unknowable and theoretical)
    4. Fitness concept is redundant since never defined independently of survival
    5. “Selection” is Survival
    6. The only selection is Intelligent Selection – always done by an Intelligent Selector
    7. Selection is limited to a narrow set of adaptations – one cannot selected what is not there
    8. Selection and Mutations lack creativity, therefore cannot explain body designs
    9. We do not observe “divergence of character” but ‘limited variations around a mean’
    10. Extinct organism were not flawed and their features were not “selected away”
    11. Intelligent Selection should replace Natural Selection but only if we ever transmutate organisms
    12. Humans do not apply Natural Selection because it doesn’t work
    13. Designs must cross an inevitable optimization gap making evolution impossible

    “Natural selection” proponents must answer these simple questions – pick any biologic entity including populations and give the 80/20 Pareto without too much accuracy or precision :
    1. What is that biologic entity’s phenotype?
    2. What is its environment?
    3. What is its fitness function?
    4. What is the relationship between its phenotype, environment, fitness, and survival/reproductive success?

    The five ridiculous claims of “natural selection”
    1. “Design by multiple choice” is ridiculous
    2. “Multiple choice from ALL random answers” is ridiculous
    3. “Designing without trying” is ridiculous
    4. “Self design” is ridiculous
    5. “Design by incremental optimization” is ridiculous

  3. 3
    DATCG says:

    #1 Nonlin,

    It may be bad language, but Behe is not advocating Natural Selection as a strong force, is he? In the following sentence he states it’s not a creative force per say. Many, even Darwinist today recognize Natural Selection is a very weak force of Variation.

    I’ll wait to read his book.

    A system of natural selection acting on random mutation, evolution can help make something look and act differently.

    Maybe he can replace “can help make” with “allows” as in variation.

    The very next sentence it states…

    But evolution never creates something organically.

    Behe contends that Darwinism actually works by a process of devolution—damaging cells in DNA in order to create something new at the lowest biological levels.

    This is important, he makes clear, because it shows the Darwinian process cannot explain the creation of life itself. “A process that so easily tears down sophisticated machinery is not one which will build complex, functional systems,” he writes.

    This seems in line with deleterious effects happen for survival, but not for building up macro-evolutionary scales of new information. Much like his examples of malaria which are deleterious.

    Here’s a quote from him on deleterious mutations and malaria. Even though survivors survive, it’s a deleterious condition of the gene with well known bad outcomes for the carrier – Sickle Cell disease.

    “Random mutations much more easily debilitate genes than improve them, and that this is true even of the helpful mutations. Let me emphasize, our experience with malaria’s effects on humans (arguably our most highly studied genetic system) shows that most helpful mutations degrade genes. What’s more, as a group the mutations are incoherent, meaning that they are not adding up to some new system. They are just small changes – mostly degradative – in pre-existing, unrelated genes. The take-home lesson is that this is certainly not the kind of process we would expect to build the astonishingly elegant machinery of the cell. If random mutation plus selective pressure substantially trashes the human genome, why should we think that it would be a constructive force in the long term? There is no reason to think so.”

    Least, that’s what I take away from it. But I do know he’s an evolutionist(edit: snipped out “not Darwinian” because I’m not entirely sure of his position).

  4. 4
    jerry says:

    The concept of “devolve” has been around for a long time. The first use of it here I could find is

    Some ID theorists grant that random mutation and non-random death (natural selection) can accomplish some biological change, like what has been called devolution and microevolution

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/the-catholic-church-and-two-and-one-half-understandings-of-id/#comment-62207

  5. 5
    DATCG says:

    Jerry,

    Yep.

  6. 6
    FourFaces says:

    What bothers me the most about Darwinism is not that it is wrong (many theories turn out to be wrong) but that it is so obviously and irrefutably wrong. Why it is still considered a scientific theory is an enduring mystery. It is protected by powerful invisible forces for mysterious reasons. The waste of minds, money and time is incalculable.

    Our civilization is built on lies and deception.

  7. 7
    Quaesitor says:

    When ID proponents on this site use the term “Darwinism,” they are referring to Neo-Darwinism, also called the modern evolutionary synthesis or Neo-Darwinian evolution (“NDE”), the basic tenets of which are described in the New World Encyclopedia as follows:

    At the heart of the modern synthesis is the view that evolution is gradual and can be explained by small genetic changes in populations over time, due to the impact of natural selection on the phenotypic variation among individuals in the populations (Mayr 1982; Futuyma 1986). According to the modern synthesis as originally established, genetic variation in populations arises by chance through mutation (it is now known to be caused sometimes by mistakes in DNA replication and via genetic recombination—the crossing over of homologous chromosomes during meiosis). This genetic variation leads to phenotypic changes among members of a population. Evolution consists primarily of changes in the frequencies of alleles between one generation and another as a result of natural selection. Speciation, the creation of new species, is a gradual process that generally occurs when populations become more and more diversified as a result of having been isolated, such as via geographic barriers, and eventually the populations develop mechanisms of reproductive isolation. Over time, these small changes will lead to major changes in design or the creation of new taxa.

    A major conclusion of the modern synthesis is that the concept of populations can explain evolutionary changes in a way that is consistent with the observations of naturalists and the known genetic mechanisms (Mayr 1982).

    Though agreement is not universal on the parameters of the modern synthesis, many descriptions hold as basic (1) the primacy of natural selection as the creative agent of evolutionary change; (2) gradualism (accumulation of small genetic changes); and (3) the extrapolation of microevolutionary processes (changes within species) to macroevolutionary trends (changes about the species level, such as the origin of new designs and broad patterns in history). Evolutionary change is a shift of the frequency of genes in a population, and macroevolutionary trends come from gradual accumulation of small genetic changes.

    Note, for example, the words of two of the leading figures in evolutionary theory, Ernst Mayr and Stephen Jay Gould.

    “The proponents of the synthetic theory maintain that all evolution is due to the accumulation of small genetic changes, guided by natural selection, and that transspecific evolution is nothing but an extrapolation and magnification of the events that take place within populations and species.” (Mayr 1963)

    “The core of this synthetic theory restates the two most characteristic assertions of Darwin himself: first, that evolution is a two-stage process (random variation as raw material, natural selection as a directing force); secondly, that evolutionary change is generally slow, steady, gradual, and continuous. . . Orthodox neo-Darwinians extrapolate these even and continuous changes to the most profound structural transitions in life.” (Gould 1980)

    Which part/s of this are obviously and irrefutably wrong?

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    Q, where has the origin of functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated information (beyond 500 – 1,000 bits) been actually observed by such mechanisms? That is, how has the origin of major body plans been accounted for, and the bridging of the seas of non-functioning gibberish that separate islands of function, starting with, say, AA sequence space and proteins, thus genetic coding of proteins, their synthesis and assembly into cells, tissues, organs, systems and novel integrated body plans? I suggest, the true answer is, nowhere. KF

  9. 9
    Eugene S says:

    Nonlin

    Survival of the best adapted is not tautology. Differential reproduction leads to differential survival. No tautology in here at all. However, RV+NS evolution does not build new biofunction. It is noise in comparison to what is necessary to achieve to build new functional biological structures. Behe is right.

  10. 10
    Mung says:

    Why do ID proponents accept without questioning Darwin’s baseless concept of “natural selection”?

    Because it is trivially true.

    Natural selection has a number of different formulations, and ID proponents do not accept without questioning all of its formulations.

  11. 11
    ET says:

    It is true that natural selection is NOT the designer mimic Darwin proclaimed but that does not mean it doesn’t exist. However, for example, it is obvious that someone with sickle-cell trait has a survival advantage in malaria-prone areas.

  12. 12
    Bob O'H says:

    But Intelligent Design goes a step further asking, what caused such astounding changes to take place?

    Really? How does ID do this? Wouldn’t it require tarting to ask questions about the Designer?

  13. 13
    Bob O'H says:

    Oops, tarting -> starting.

  14. 14
    Nonlin.org says:

    DATCG@3

    As shown, there is no “natural selection”. Heck, there is no “artificial selection” either (again as shown). There is breeding, but that is much more than ‘selection’ of any kind – did you read?

    “Natural selection” is just a nonsensical concept Darwin invented. Why would anyone and Behe honor that nonsense?

  15. 15
    Nonlin.org says:

    Quaesitor@7

    All of them as shown. Have you seen any accumulation of changes? Neither did I or anyone else.

    Here’s a preliminary list for you:
    Gradualism fails – http://nonlin.org/gradualism/
    Natural selection fails – http://nonlin.org/natural-selection/
    Divergence of character fails – http://nonlin.org/evotest/
    Speciation fails – http://nonlin.org/speciation-problems/
    DNA “essence of life” fails – http://nonlin.org/dna-not-essence-of-life/
    Randomness fails – http://nonlin.org/random-abuse/
    Abiogenesis fails – http://nonlin.org/warmpond/
    etc., etc.

  16. 16
    Nonlin.org says:

    Eugene S@9

    Since we’re all different, can reproduction and survival be anything other than “differential”? No! Then your statement is meaningless.

    Can you determine “best adapted” by any other method than retroactively looking at survival? No! Then your statement is meaningless.

    Behe and all others are wrong.

  17. 17
    Nonlin.org says:

    Mung@10

    No, “natural selection” is not trivially true as shown. Why don’t you read first and come up with some arguments instead of a simple denial?

  18. 18
    Nonlin.org says:

    ET@11

    Sickle cell occurrence of 10-40%, in equatorial countries of Africa is not “selection”. Even 100% occurrence would not be selection of any kind.

    Who/how/whom would be selected? The malaria doesn’t select, the mosquitoes do not select and humans do not select. What selection are you then talking about?

    How would you even test “a survival advantage”? Compared to what? Remember that 60-90% of the population in those areas does not have sickle cell and they survive.

  19. 19
    jerry says:

    Really? How does ID do this? Wouldn’t it require starting to ask questions about the Designer?

    No, other than some entity with some level of intelligence could do it. Some day soon your local lab will have the capability to create a basic cell. One might be curious about the intelligence but just what/who is not necessary.

    Nothing in ID precludes a naturalistic process. It just seems highly improbable at the moment that some things happened by naturalistic processes. But ID says a skilled intelligent entity could do it.

    You of all people should know this since you have been around since day 1 of this site.

  20. 20
    EugeneS says:

    Nonlin

    “Then your statement is meaningless.”

    It depends what you mean by “meaningless” 😉

    Do you mean that population genetics is based on a tautology? Do you think it is not able to predict anything?

    ‘Fitness’ to Darwin meant not those that survive, but those that could be expected to survive because of their adaptations and functional efficiency, when compared to others in the population.

    RV+NS is a valid model, albeit too weak and insensitive to explain real complex biofunction in real environments. RV+NS is a valid corner case.

  21. 21
    EugeneS says:

    Bob

    “Wouldn’t it require starting to ask questions about the Designer?”

    What questions? I can hypothesise based purely on evidence that The Designer of biocomplexity is:

    1. conscious;
    2. intelligent enough to think through the organization of self-replicating autonomous carbon based heterogeneous semantically closed nano-scale biological machinery;
    3. able to carry-out planning activities and goal-oriented series of decision making steps;
    4. powerful enough to implement the worked out strategy in order to make the design a reality.

    The Designer’s intelligence was enough to create self-sustaining semiotic relationships between configurations of matter that did not exist before the design of organisms. The semiotic core of life is examplified by the {DNA/mRNA,genetic code,ribosomal interpreter} tuple.

    Is that enough for a start?

  22. 22
    Quaesitor says:

    Hi nonlin.org

    Do you accept microevolution?

    Because ID is compatible with microevolution.

  23. 23
    Mung says:

    Looks like the new book may just provide more ammunition to the “poor design” crowd.

  24. 24
    jerry says:

    more ammunition to the “poor design” crowd

    But maybe the “poor design” is part of the design or really not poor design. It can be both actually. If there were perfect design, micro evolution might lead certain entities to dominate when that would be self defeating in the long run. A good ecology requires equilibrium. A man got to know his limitations.

    And there may be philosophical reasons for so called “poor design.”

  25. 25
    gpuccio says:

    Mung:

    “Looks like the new book may just provide more ammunition to the “poor design” crowd.”

    Why?

  26. 26
    Mung says:

    Designing a system that could only get worse over time would be a poor design. Better would be designing a system that can get better over time.

    🙂

  27. 27
    PaoloV says:

    Mung,
    That’s an interesting idea.
    Could the designed system require certain conditions in order to work perfectly “as designed”?
    What would happen if those requirements aren’t met?
    Could it deteriorate and eventually stop functioning, by design too?
    Why not?

  28. 28
    OLV says:

    Paolo,
    Please, provide at least one example for illustration.
    Thanks.

  29. 29
    PaoloV says:

    Oscar Luis,
    Drone.

  30. 30
    Bob O'H says:

    Jerry @ 19 –

    No, other than some entity with some level of intelligence could do it.

    Hm, that’s not actually asking “what caused such astounding changes to take place?”. For a start, “what caused…?” and “what could have caused…?” are subtly different questions. And then to answer “something” is incredibly vague. Yes, I agree that it could be a naturalistic process, but does ID ever ask if it actually was?

    EugeneS @ 21 – Questions like “what is the identity of the designer?”, “how did they implement their design?” would be good starts. They are difficult questions, bu the first is surely the fundamental question behind “what caused such astounding changes to take place?”, if you believe that it was an intelligent designer.

  31. 31
    OLV says:

    Paolo (29):

    drone? can you elaborate on that? thanks.

  32. 32
    OLV says:

    EugeneS (21):

    Very insightful comment. Thanks.

  33. 33
    PaoloV says:

    Oscar Luis,

    Haven’t you seen a drone, a.k.a. unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV)?
    Here’s one example: A boy flies a drone

  34. 34
    OLV says:

    Paolo Verspi,

    Your drones are off topic unless you relate them to what you wrote at # 27 in relation to Mung’s comment at #26.

    Would you, please?

    Stop being vague. This is a serious discussion. State your point. Thanks.

  35. 35
    PaoloV says:

    Oscar Luis,

    OK, how about this excellent design idea that could go wrong?

  36. 36
    PaoloV says:

    Oscar Luis,

    Have you ever heard of a designed self-destruct mechanism?

    Would you count that as poor design?

  37. 37
    OLV says:

    Paolo,

    OK, now relate that to the drones and your comment at # 27.

    Thanks.

  38. 38
    PaoloV says:

    OL,

    A drone could be designed to follow a preprogrammed trajectory, a certain path, but it could potentially come under the sway of a hacker that could detour it from its good path. As long as the communication between the drone and the designer is active, the designer could instruct the drone to maneuver and get away from the hacking threat. But if the link is broken, the drone is on its own. At that point, it could have a built-in self-destruct mechanism, which could be just the lack of communication with the designer.

  39. 39
    EugeneS says:

    Bob

    How did the Designer implement the design?

    By introducing the aforementioned tuple sign-protocol-interpreter into physicality. From a physics perspective, by creating specialized symbolic boundary conditions on the motion of the particles of matter in the system. From an engineering perspective, by locally arranging the parts of the system to make sure it produces the desired effects mentioned in my previous comment.

    The identity of the designer.

    Do you wish to know His name?

    Do you expect to know the identity of the designer of an ancient vase found during archaelogical excavations? Is it not enough for the purposes of a majority of archaelogical inquiries to establish some general properties such as the time period of an artifact, how it was used, was it produced locally or imported, etc. I do not see any relevance in asking for the designer’s name and address in that context.

    I do not see any reasonable justification for being so demanding in the harder case of living organisms.

  40. 40
    Eugene S says:

    OLV

    Thanks!

    Mung

    I could never understand that “poor design” argument. It seems like people articulating it have never heard about multi-criteria optimization. And even so, a poor design is a design anyway. So I do not see any scientific substance in the argument. I can see what these people are aiming at but until such time as they frame it as a philosophical argument, it is untenable.

  41. 41
    Eugene S says:

    Mung

    “Designing a system that could only get worse over time would be a poor design.”

    You need to be more specific as EVERYTHING in our world in its current state deteriorates. You cannot reasonably expect from anything not to degrade over time.

  42. 42
    bornagain77 says:

    mung’s tongue in cheek comments at 23 and 26 (said with a smiley face) was simply pointing out the fact that Darwinists will ignore all the scientific evidence that directly falsifies their claims, (in this case devolution and/or genetic entropy), to focus on Theologically based arguments about what they personally think God would and would not do.

    This heavy reliance by Darwinists on Theologically based arguments in the face of falsifying scientific evidence is especially ironic since Darwinists are the ones who are constantly claiming that it is unscientific to invoke God. As Paul Nelson stated: “Evolutionists have long contended that the organic world falls short of what one might expect from an omnipotent and benevolent creator. Yet many of the same scientists who argue theologically for evolution are committed to the philosophical doctrine of methodological naturalism, which maintains that theology has no place in science.

    The role of theology in current evolutionary reasoning – Paul A. Nelson – Biology and Philosophy, 1996, Volume 11, Number 4, Pages 493-517
    Excerpt: Evolutionists have long contended that the organic world falls short of what one might expect from an omnipotent and benevolent creator. Yet many of the same scientists who argue theologically for evolution are committed to the philosophical doctrine of methodological naturalism, which maintains that theology has no place in science. Furthermore, the arguments themselves are problematical, employing concepts that cannot perform the work required of them, or resting on unsupported conjectures about suboptimality. Evolutionary theorists should reconsider both the arguments and the influence of Darwinian theological metaphysics on their understanding of evolution.
    http://www.springerlink.com/co.....34/?MUD=MP

    Moreover, it is interesting to point out that the theologically based ‘bad design’ argument is actually a sub-category, and/or sub-branch, of the overarching ‘argument from evil’ that atheists constantly try to use.

    Specifically, in the ‘argument from evil’ atheists hold that “There exist a large number of horrible forms of evil and suffering for which we can see no greater purpose or compensating good.”

    The Problem of Evil: Still A Strong Argument for Atheism – 2015
    Excerpt:,,, the problem of evil, one of the main arguments against the existence of an all-good and all-knowing God.,,,
    P1. There exist a large number of horrible forms of evil and suffering for which we can see no greater purpose or compensating good.
    P2. If an all-powerful, all-good God existed, then such horrific, apparently purposeless evils would not exist.
    C. Therefore, an all-powerful, all-good God does not exist.
    https://thegodlesstheist.com/2015/10/13/the-problem-of-evil-still-a-strong-argument-for-atheism/

    And yet this is, once again, a self defeating position for the atheist to be in.

    In particular, on the one hand Atheistic materialists hold that morality is subjective and illusory.

    Atheism’s Odd Relationship with Morality By Rabbi Adam Jacobs – 2011
    Excerpt: As Dr. Will Provine has said, “[as an atheist] you give up hope that there is an imminent morality … you can’t hope for there being any free will [and there is] … no ultimate foundation for ethics.”
    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-adam-jacobs/atheisms-odd-relationship_b_839352.html

    And yet on the other hand, as David Wood puts it in the following article, By declaring that suffering is evil, atheists have admitted that there is an objective moral standard by which we distinguish good and evil.

    Responding to the Argument From Evil: Three Approaches for the Theist – By David Wood
    Excerpt: Interestingly enough, proponents of AE grant this premise in the course of their argument. By declaring that suffering is evil, atheists have admitted that there is an objective moral standard by which we distinguish good and evil. Amazingly, then, even as atheists make their case against the existence of God, they actually help us prove that God exists!,,,
    https://www.namb.net/apologetics/responding-to-the-argument-from-evil-three-approaches-for-the-theist

    Thus, in their “Argument from Evil” atheists have conceded the existence of a objective moral standard to judge by and have, once again, refuted Atheistic Materialism in the process.

    Simply put, if good and evil really do exist, as the atheist holds in his argument from evil, then God necessarily exists!

    If Good and Evil Exist, God Exists: – Peter Kreeft – Prager University – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xliyujhwhNM

    And as Michael Egnor states in the following article, Even to raise the problem of evil is to tacitly acknowledge transcendent standards, and thus to acknowledge God’s existence. From that starting point, theodicy begins. Theists have explored it profoundly. Atheists lack the standing even to ask the question.,,,

    The Universe Reflects a Mind – Michael Egnor – February 28, 2018
    Excerpt: Goff argues that a Mind is manifest in the natural world, but he discounts the existence of God because of the problem of evil. Goff seriously misunderstands the problem of evil. Evil is an insoluble problem for atheists, because if there is no God, there is no objective standard by which evil and good can exist or can even be defined. If God does not exist, “good” and “evil” are merely human opinions. Yet we all know, as Kant observed, that some things are evil in themselves, and not merely as a matter of opinion. Even to raise the problem of evil is to tacitly acknowledge transcendent standards, and thus to acknowledge God’s existence. From that starting point, theodicy begins. Theists have explored it profoundly. Atheists lack the standing even to ask the question.,,,
    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/02/the-universe-reflects-a-mind/

    C.S Lewis, a former atheist who converted to Christianity, clearly puts the fatal flaw inherent in the argument from evil like this: “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?,,, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.”

    “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?,,,
    in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist–in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless–I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality–namely my idea of justice–was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.”
    – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity. Harper San Francisco, Zondervan Publishing House, 2001, pp. 38-39.

    Moreover the specific philosophical claim from atheists that “There exist a large number of horrible forms of evil and suffering for which we can see no greater purpose or compensating good.” is directly refuted in Christian Theology by what is termed the “Beatific (BE A TIF IC) Vision” of heaven:,,,

    1 Corinthians 15:54
    For the perishable must be clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come to pass: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

    2 Corinthians 5:4
    For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.

    That is to say, and as the following article shows, that the argument from evil is refuted by the perfect salvation and/or by the existence of Heaven.”,,, As Saint Paul once said, “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

    This Theologian Has An Answer To Atheists’ Claims That Evil Disproves God – Jan, 2018
    Excerpt: In “The Last Superstition: A Refutation Of The New Atheism,” Feser, echoing Thomas Aquinas, notes that the first premise of the problem of evil is “simply false, or at least unjustifiable.” According to Feser, there is no reason to believe that the Christian God, being all-good and all-powerful, would prevent suffering on this earth if out of suffering he could bring about a good that is far greater than any that would have existed otherwise. If God is infinite in power, knowledge, goodness, etc., then of course he could bring about such a good.
    Feser demonstrates his reasoning with an analogy. A parent may allow his child a small amount of suffering in frustration, sacrifice of time, and minor pain when learning to play the violin, in order to bring about the good of establishing proficiency. This is not to say that such minimal suffering is in any way comparable to the horrors that have gone on in this world. But the joy of establishing proficiency with a violin is not in any way comparable to the good that God promises to bring to the world.
    In Christian theology, this good is referred to as the Beatific Vision: the ultimate, direct self-communication of God to the individual. In other words, perfect salvation or Heaven. Feser describes the Beatific Vision as a joy so great that even the most terrible horror imaginable “pales in insignificance before the beatific vision.” As Saint Paul once said, “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
    Your Argument Assumes Its Conclusion
    I can already see the disciples of the Four Horsemen readying their keyboards, opening a copy of Dawkins’ “The God Delusion,” and preparing their response. An atheist may claim that he cannot possibly imagine anything in the next life that could possibly outweigh the Holocaust, children’s suffering, or any other instance of significant suffering in this world. According to Feser, this response is precisely the reason he states that the problem of evil is “worthless” as an objection to arguments in favor of the existence of the Christian God.
    The problem is that the only way the atheist can claim that nothing could outweigh the most significant suffering on earth is if he supposes that God does not exist and therefore there is no Beatific Vision. But he cannot presume that God does not exist in the premise of an argument that aims to prove the conclusion that God does not exist. By doing so, he is begging the question, or arguing in a circle, and therefore does not prove anything at all.
    As Feser goes on to demonstrate, the atheist is essentially stating: “There is no God, because look at all this suffering that no good could possibly outweigh. How do I know there’s no good that could outweigh it? Oh, because there is no God.”
    http://thefederalist.com/2018/.....oves-gods/

    and as Jesus himself stated “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and then to enter His glory?”

    Luke 24:25-26
    Then Jesus said to them, “O foolish ones, how slow are your hearts to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and then to enter His glory?”

    Thus, the atheist, in his argument from evil, basically ignores all of Christian theology in order to try to claim that he can see no greater purpose for God allowing evil and suffering to exist in this world:

    The Problem of Evil by Benjamin D. Wiker – April 2009
    Excerpt: We still want to cry, Job-like, to those inscrutable depths, “Who are you to orchestrate everything around us puny and pitiable creatures, leaving us shuddering in the darkness, ignorant, blasted, and buffeted? It‘s all well and good to say, ‘Trust me! It‘ll all be made right in the end,‘ while you float unscathed above it all. Grinding poverty, hunger, thirst, frustration, rejection, toil, death of our loved ones, blood-sweating anxiety, excruciating pain, humiliation, torture, and finally a twisted and miserable annihilation — that‘s the meal we‘re served! You‘d sing a different tune if you were one of us and got a taste of your own medicine.”
    What could we say against these depths if the answer we received was not an argument but an incarnation, a full and free submission by God to the very evils about which we complain? This submission would be a kind of token, a sign that evil is very real indeed, bringing the incarnate God blood-sweating anxiety, excruciating pain, humiliation, torture, and finally a twisted and miserable annihilation on the cross. As real as such evil is, however, the resurrection reveals that it is somehow mysteriously comprehended within the divine plan.
    With the Incarnation, the reality of evil is absorbed into the deity, not dissolved into thin air, because God freely tastes the bitterness of the medicine as wounded healer, not distant doctor. Further, given the drastic nature of this solution, we begin to recognize that God takes the problem of evil more seriously than we could ever have taken it ourselves. ,,,
    http://www.crisismagazine.com/.....em-of-evil

    “He did not conquer in spite of the dark mystery of evil. He conquered through it.”
    ~James Stewart~

    “It is a glorious phrase of the New Testament, that ‘he led captivity captive.’
    The very triumphs of His foes, it means, he used for their defeat. He compelled their dark achievements to sub-serve his end, not theirs.
    They nailed him to the tree, not knowing that by that very act they were bringing the world to his feet.
    They gave him a cross, not guessing that he would make it a throne.
    They flung him outside the gates to die, not knowing that in that very moment they were lifting up all the gates of the universe, to let the King of Glory come in.
    They thought to root out his doctrines, not understanding that they were implanting imperishably in the hearts of men the very name they intended to destroy.
    They thought they had defeated God with His back (to) the wall, pinned and helpless and defeated: they did not know that it was God Himself who had tracked them down.
    He did not conquer in spite of the dark mystery of evil. He conquered through it.”
    James Stewart (1896–1990) was a minister of the Church of Scotland

    Genesis 50:20
    As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

  43. 43
    Mung says:

    This is a serious discussion.

    Time for me to leave then.

  44. 44
    OLV says:

    Eugene S,

    It seems like the comments at #23 & #26 were written tongue in cheek.
    The 🙂 at the end of #26 seems to hint that.
    This is a serious topic but joking is also valid sometimes.

  45. 45
    OLV says:

    Mung,
    Please, don’t go away. Your jokes are welcome!
    They provoked an interesting discussion.
    Thanks.

  46. 46
    OLV says:

    Mung,
    Please, don’t go away. Your jokes are welcome!
    They provoked an interesting discussion.
    Thanks.

  47. 47
    jerry says:

    Bob O’H

    Yes, I agree that it could be a naturalistic process, but does ID ever ask if it actually was?

    All the time from my experience. It is just when there is no credible naturalistic process that it looks for other alternatives. Stephen Meyer goes over dozens of possible naturalistic explanations in his books.

    This is something else you should know from all your years here.

    “what caused…?” and “what could have caused…?” are subtly different questions.

    Yes, but before one gets to what caused, one has to consider what could have caused and then eliminate the improbable ones. Which is exactly the process ID uses.

    I answered the silliness of this question about the designer with sarcasm over 9 years ago.

    Someone actually wants the laboratory techniques used 3.8 billion years ago. You talk about bizarre. I say a thousand as hyperbole and Mark in all seriousness says there is probably only a dozen. Mark wants the actual technique used a few billion years ago.

    Mark, I got word from the designer a few weeks ago and he said the original lab and blue prints were subducted under what was to become the African plate 3.4 billion years ago but by then they were mostly rubble anyway. The original cells were relatively simple but still very complex. Subsequent plants/labs went the same way and unfortunately all holograph videos of it are now in hyper space and haven’t been looked at for at least 3 million years. So to answer one of your questions, no further work has been done for quite awhile and the designer expects future work to be done by the latest design itself. The designer travels via hyper space between his home and our area of the universe when it is necessary.

    The designer said the techniques used were much more sophisticated than anything dreamed of by current synthetic biologist crowd but in a couple million years they may get up to speed and understand how it was actually done. The designer said it is actually a lot more difficult than people think especially since this was a new technique and he had to invent the DNA/RNA/protein process from scratch but amazingly they had the right chemical properties. His comment was “Thank God for that” or else he doesn’t think he wouldn’t have been able to do it. It took him about 200,000 of our years just experimenting with amino acid combinations to get usable proteins. He said it will be easier for current scientists since they will have a template to work off.

    Hope this answers your question about the designer.

  48. 48
    jerry says:

    Moreover, it is interesting to point out that the theologically based ‘bad design’ argument is actually a sub-category, and/or sub-branch, of the overarching ‘argument from evil’ that atheists constantly try to use.

    I have argued that there is no such thing as evil in this world. I have yet to find anyone who can define it. If you cannot define something, does it exist?

    All proposed definitions have problems. Generally all the definitions focus on something considered not desirable.

    As an aside, I was in Lisbon last fall and went to the church that was the basis for a lot of people changing their mind about God. The Lisbon earthquake took place on November 1, 1755 and people were at church during the earthquake. Many were killed instantly. Ayala’s book on evolution described the sea change that took place because of this. How could God have allowed such a thing?

    The most prominent church whose roof collapsed still stands without the roof.

    https://static1.squarespace.com/static/549d41a3e4b003c6ce131926/t/5630fa86e4b04cc69d047638/1446050640150/?format=1500w

  49. 49
    Nonlin.org says:

    EugeneS@20,

    Population genetics based on Mendelian genetics is fine. Anything based on Darwin’s nonsense fails.

    What is your “fitness”? If you can’t answer, you have to admit the concept is bogus.

    For sure no RV+NS out there as explained. RV fails by itself: http://nonlin.org/random-abuse/
    In an intelligent discussion, you can’t just restate your opinion without arguments.

  50. 50
    Nonlin.org says:

    Quaesitor@22,

    1. Some (including the ID crowd) accept microevolution defined as observable adaptations in populations, while rejecting macroevolution defined as the never observed and very much doubtful Darwinist “common descent”. The problem is that micro and macro are just generic qualifiers that come in pairs, while evolution – the word retained – is in fact the concept in question.
    2. Accepting microevolution creates confusion and is self defeating for those that reject Darwinist macroevolution. A better choice than microevolution is adaptation – an ancient concept (predates evolution), and an observed feature of all living organisms.

  51. 51
    EugeneS says:

    OLV

    I had only s cursory look and irony may have escaped me. It’s not the first time I make this mistakde with Mung. I already owe him a pint 😉

  52. 52
    EugeneS says:

    Nonlin

    No need to be so pushy, my friend. I agree with your link as far as I had time to have a look. However, I do not agree that RV+NS is tautology. It is your burden to prove your claim. That was your original claim, which is simply a poor understanding of the argument of your opponents. The model can be poor indeed but it is no tautology.

  53. 53
    Nonlin.org says:

    EugeneS@52,

    I said: “survival of the best adapted” is tautological.

    I also said: “Natural Selection fails…” and demonstrated with a long list of arguments.

    Combined, these are different than “RV+NS is tautology”.

    Anyway, it looks like I met my “burden”, so now the ball is in your court if you want to dispute any of those arguments: http://nonlin.org/natural-selection/
    You can also review the 600+ comments here: http://theskepticalzone.com/wp.....ion-magic/

    Sorry, I don’t mean to push you. But I am very curious as to why ID proponents adopt the Darwinist language so easily.

  54. 54
    Quaesitor says:

    Nonlin.org

    A better choice than microevolution is adaptation…

    So how does adaptation work? Isn’t it gradual change of character traits due to variations?

  55. 55
    bornagain77 says:

    jerry at 48, you stated that there is no rigid definition of evil and therefore evil does not exist, and then directly after denying the reality of evil, you gave an example of an ‘evil’ befalling a church in the Lisbon earthquake and then asked “How could God have allowed such a thing?”

    And prey tell, if evil truly does not exist, why would you be so upset that people were killed in a church in an earthquake? If evil truly does not exist then an earthquake is just as good (or evil) as a beautiful sunny day would be good (or evil). By denying the reality of evil (and good) you have forsaken any measure by which you may judge whether anything is good or evil.

    As CS Lewis noted, there must be some transcendent standard of moral perfection that has been departed from for us to even be able to make the judgement in the first place:

    “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?,,,
    in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist–in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless–I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality–namely my idea of justice–was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.”
    – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity. Harper San Francisco, Zondervan Publishing House, 2001, pp. 38-39.

    Verse:

    Mark 10:17-19
    Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”
    So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ”,,,

  56. 56
    kairosfocus says:

    BA77, it is a classical conclusion of Christian thought, that evil has no independent existence, it is “merely” a parasite on a creation deemed good by its maker when he had just finished the job. That is, evil is a perversion, privation and/or frustration of the good from its proper — and often naturally evident — end. For example the proper end of mind is truth; sound reasoning and prudent judgement that warrant our knowledge of truth being key means to that end. Ironically, allowing evil may open room for a higher good: responsible, rational freedom is a necessary basis for love — we cannot love if we cannot freely choose, but the freedom also means one may act against love. Where the virtues of morally governed creatures such as we are invariably stem from and are manifestations of love to God and to neighbour. Hence, Jesus’ point on the greatest commandment and what is like unto it: love God and love neighbour as one loves oneself. Thus, the decalogue and the natural law are rooted in that double principle of love. KF

  57. 57
    jerry says:

    jerry at 48, you stated that there is no rigid definition of evil and therefore evil does not exist, and then directly after denying the reality of evil, you gave an example of an ‘evil’ befalling a church in the Lisbon earthquake and then asked “How could God have allowed such a thing?”

    You are putting words into my mouth/thoughts into my head, that are not there. The only time I used the term “evil” is

    I have argued that there is no such thing as evil in this world.

    I pointed to what Ayala said and said that this was one of the events that changed thinking. I have seen the Lisbon earthquake mentioned in other places as a seminal event in thinking about God because of the reasons I stated.

    People are definitely upset when others get killed, especially those close to themselves. I am not arguing that bad things do not happen but that whenever the topic comes up it leads to incoherent thinking. I have expressed myself several times on this site on the concept of evil but not recently,

    Actually I believe there is something evil, but it does not take place in this world. It is close to what kairosfocus is discussing and that is

    the deprivation of God or the ultimate Good

    But that is it. The rest are just undesirable things that happen to people and they range from trivial things to death in all its forms to what some consider worse than death. But compared to the deprivation of God, all are trivial.

    I in no way deny that bad things happen to people but that the discussion of these bad things as a reason there is no Christian God is an incoherent argument. So to use it in the evolution argument is also incoherent.

    As an aside: devolution or an end state that is less than a previous state in some way is not a bad thing or bad design. Sounds like it may be good design to me. Adaptation is whatever form is positive in the short run. I am well aware that some extinctions were the result of devolution or the elimination of alleles in the gene pool due to adaptation. Yet we still exist in incredible variety.

  58. 58
    bornagain77 says:

    Well jerry, you yourself have to admit that you make some pretty heavy qualifications in your claim that ‘there is no such thing as evil in this world’,,, claims that were not explicitly laid out in your post at 48.

    That being said, my quote by CS Lewis is exactly in line with what kf said, and I am glad that we all agree the evil is a ‘departure’ from, and/or “merely” a parasite on, the moral perfection of God.

    Of related interest to that, though this following video about Einstein as a student is folklore, it, none-the-less, hits the nail on the head as far as the atheist’s self-defeating ‘argument from evil’ is concerned.

    Student (Albert Einstein) Vs. Professor
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3qjDF9ksJU

  59. 59

    BA77 @ 58: Thank you for that excellent link.

  60. 60
    ET says:

    Nonlin:’

    Sickle cell occurrence of 10-40%, in equatorial countries of Africa is not “selection”.

    Natural selection is a process of elimination. Sickle-cell trait fits NS.

  61. 61
    ET says:

    Earth to Bob O’H-

    Just because ID is not about the Designer(s) doesn’t mean that we cannot make assumptions or ask questions pertaining to the Designer(s).

  62. 62
    jerry says:

    Well jerry, you yourself have to admit that you make some pretty heavy qualifications in your claim that ‘there is no such thing as evil in this world

    No qualifications. Here is what I said

    I have argued that there is no such thing as evil in this world

    Still maintain that. There are what nearly all will call bad things/outcomes. No denying that. But I said there was no evil things. Is this just semantics?

    I have yet to find anyone who can define it

    If someone wants to equate bad things with evil things, that is their prerogative but it gets one nowhere because there is a near infinite number of bad things.

    If you cannot define something, does it exist?

    I have asked for a definition several times on this site and elsewhere and have yet to see a coherent definition.

    All proposed definitions have problems. Generally all the definitions focus on something considered not desirable.

    As I said there is no problem with recognizing that there are non desirable outcomes or actions.

    Some will focus on the “absence of good” but one could argue everything in this world has limitations and thus is not truly “the good.” Thus, everything is “evil.” Doesn’t get anywhere.

    Since by definitions all the arguments against the Christian God based on an “evil” argument is over things in this world, the arguments are incoherent. The Christian God is promising something infinite while any problem in this world is trivial by comparison.

    I stumbled on this while analyzing advertising campaigns. My background is advertising. Seems strange but one of the techniques for designing products and ad campaigns is solving problems. As problems get solved the human is still unsatisfied and what was trivial before now becomes paramount. In other words what were trivial problems before become “evil.” Which makes a mockery of the concept. There is nothing absolute about it.

    I am sure all this will disappear and be forgotten. I don’t spend much time here anymore but I might show up again in the future to discuss this topic or other things. I will buy the Behe book as soon as it is available.

  63. 63
    Nonlin.org says:

    Quaesitor@54

    So how does adaptation work? Isn’t it gradual change of character traits due to variations?

    You’re trying to sneak back in the Darwinist nonsense. See below: “gradual”, “character”, “traits” and “variations” are unrelated.

    a·dapt
    [??dapt]
    VERB
    make (something) suitable for a new use or purpose; modify.
    “hospitals have had to be adapted for modern medical practice” · [more]
    synonyms: modify · alter · make alterations to · change · adjust · make adjustments to · convert · transform · redesign · restyle · refashion · remodel · reshape · revamp · [more]
    become adjusted to new conditions.

    Granted, the Darwinists managed to redefine ‘adaptation’ to their liking and to sneak it into most dictionaries. This should not confuse you.

  64. 64
    Nonlin.org says:

    ET@60

    Natural selection is a process of elimination. Sickle-cell trait fits NS.

    I already explained this and you chose to ignore:

    “Who/how/whom would be selected? The malaria doesn’t select, the mosquitoes do not select and humans do not select. What selection are you then talking about?”

  65. 65
    Quaesitor says:

    Nonlin.org

    So how do you think adaptation works? What are the steps in the process for how a species adapts?

  66. 66
    Nonlin.org says:

    Quaesitor@65

    Adaptations are built in (part of the design). Human designers also build in certain adaptation mechanisms (like your car’s DRL).

    Color changes as well as size (including finches’ beaks), metabolic, antibiotic, antibiotic-resistance, and many other adaptations is what organisms do day in and day out. Yet none of these normal adaptations has ever been observed to become permanent after the triggering stimulus has been removed, and none has ever been observed to cause “divergence of character” transmutation into other organisms. Furthermore, these adaptations are limited in scope – for instance, no 2D-bound organism has been observed to become 3D-capable to avoid extinction.

    Yep, even random mutations are built in – check out the B-cells immune response.

    Per Richard Milton: “Shattering the Myths of Darwinism”:
    There’s a limit to adaptation as in in sugar content of beets, Drosophila bristles, no black tulip, no blue rose, no green mouse.

  67. 67
    Quaesitor says:

    nonlin.org

    Of course adaptation is built in.

    But you haven’t explained step-by-step how you think it works.

    In any case you’re not making much sense (to me). You state “randomness fails” and then later state “even random mutations are built in” — ?

  68. 68
    Nonlin.org says:

    Quaesitor@67

    Not “of course adaptation is built in” according to the Darwinist magic that claims “RV+NS”.

    What do you mean “step-by-step”? Open the immunology book and read the modicum we understand about one such process. Also, ask an engineer how they design adaptive systems. It’s not rocket surgery science 🙂

    How can you understand when you’re not even opening the link provided? Randomness fails to create anything – http://nonlin.org/random-abuse/
    …but a random generator is being used as part of the designed immunity system.

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